Ever wished that you could buy yourself a fancy new gaming laptop instead of settling for that $400 back-to-school special? With the cloud gaming service Shadow, you can get the best of both worlds and turn your personal computer into a high-powered gaming PC.
Shadow works like this: instead of using your own computer to run a video game, you can stream the game remotely and let the servers at Shadow HQ do the heavy lifting. You are essentially playing your Steam games on a more powerful computer. All you need is a 15 megabyte per second internet connection and a Windows 10 or Mac computer.
Shadow gives you unlimited access to an eight-thread Intel Xeon central processing unit (CPU), Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPU/GTX 1080 with 12 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) and 256 gigabytes of space on solid state drive (SSD). For the non-techy people reading this, that essentially means you can run any computer game that you want, period. Yes, even Crysis.
So how does it actually perform? Good, but not perfect. Shadow allowed me to play games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Resident Evil 3, which I couldn’t have run on my laptop otherwise. Whenever I used the service I got 1080p, 60 frames-per-second, ultra-smooth gaming that ran like a champ, with very few frame stutters or glitches. I did, however, occasionally encounter a bug that stopped Shadow from loading up properly, requiring me to restart.
Due to the nature of streaming services I averaged around 50 milliseconds of gameplay delay while using Shadow, which is acceptable, but still noticeable. When playing faster paced twitch shooter games it might feel as though your mousepad is sticky. This input delay is not a dealbreaker, but it could prevent you from doing things like joining Faze Clan, the famed YouTube trick shooters. That being said, for slower paced games like Civilization and Age of Empires, the lag is not noticeable at all.
I really enjoyed using Shadow, but the input delay took away from the experience of playing fast paced first-person games. Shadow costs $11.99 a month, which is a bargain when compared to spending upwards of $1,000 on a proper gaming PC. If you like PC gaming but can’t afford the specs needed to do so, I suggest you take a look at Shadow cloud gaming.